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Forage harvester

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A forage harvester (also known as a silage harvester, forager or chopper) is a farm implement that harvests forage plants to make silage. Silage is grass, corn or other plant that has been chopped into small pieces, and compacted together in a storage silo, silage bunker, or in silage bags. The silage is then fermented to provide feed for livestock. Haylage is a similar process to silage but using grass which has dried.

Uses Edit

Claas PU300HD forager head - IMG 6057
Pick-up head for a Claas Self-propelled forge harvester
BulldozerD11Added by BulldozerD11

Forage harvesters can be implements attached to a tractor, or they can be self-propelled units. In either configuration, they have either a drum (cutterhead) or a flywheel with a number of knives fixed to it that chops and blows the silage out a chute of the harvester into a wagon that is either connected to the harvester or to another vehicle driving alongside. Some larger machines also have paddle accelerators to increase material speed and improve unloading characteristics. Once a wagon is filled up, the wagon can be detached and taken back to a silo for unloading, and another wagon can be attached. Because corn and grass require different types of cutting equipment, there are different heads for each type of silage, and these heads can be connected and disconnected from the harvester. Grass silage is usually cut prior to harvesting to allow it to wilt, before being harvested from swathes with a collection header (windrow pickup). Maize and wholecrop silage are cut directly by the header, using reciprocating knives, disc mowers or large saw-like blades. Kernel processors (KP), a module consisting of two mill rolls with teeth pressed together by powerful springs, are frequently used when harvesting cereal crops like corn and sorghum to crack the kernels of these plant heads. Kernel processors are installed between the cutterhead and accelerator. In most forage harvesters, the KP can be quickly removed and replaced with a grass chute for chopping non-cereal crops.

Krone AX 280 self loading forage wagon (trailed) at lamma 2010IMG 7596
Krone Forage wagon
BulldozerD11Added by BulldozerD11

The modern way of silage making is with a self-propelled machine with a tractor or lorry running along with the forager. Today's largest machines have multiple engines producing in excess of 1000 horsepower, are fitted with headers able to cut up to a 9 Meter swath of maize/corn in a single pass, and an output exceeding 2000 tons of silage per day. Silage made from grass, canola, oats or wheat are chopped in pieces 6 to 30 millimeters long and treated with additives including bacterias, enzymes, mold inhibitors, and preservatives to accelerate the fermentation process. When silage is made of corn or sorghum additives are not necessary because of the high sugar level in the plant. Additives however are frequently added to corn and sorghum to augment their fermentation.

See alsoEdit

John Deere Silage chopper at little casterton 2009 - IMG 1774
John Deere silage chopper & blower feeding a wire mesh silo for maize (corn) silage
BulldozerD11Added by BulldozerD11

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit


Smallwikipedialogo This page uses some content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Forage harvester. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Tractor & Construction Plant Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons by Attribution License and/or GNU Free Documentation License. Please check page history for when the original article was copied to Wikia

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